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Defending the FaithGlobal Histories of Apologetics and Politics in the Twentieth Century$
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Todd Weir and Hugh McLeod

Print publication date: 2021

Print ISBN-13: 9780197266915

Published to British Academy Scholarship Online: May 2021

DOI: 10.5871/bacad/9780197266915.001.0001

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PRINTED FROM BRITISH ACADEMY SCHOLARSHIP ONLINE (www.britishacademy.universitypressscholarship.com). (c) Copyright British Academy, 2021. All Rights Reserved. An individual user may print out a PDF of a single chapter of a monograph in BASO for personal use.date: 30 July 2021

The Apologetics of Decolonisation: Defending Religion in South and Southeast Asia after the Second World War

The Apologetics of Decolonisation: Defending Religion in South and Southeast Asia after the Second World War

Chapter:
(p.160) 8 The Apologetics of Decolonisation: Defending Religion in South and Southeast Asia after the Second World War
Source:
Defending the Faith
Author(s):

Clemens Six

Publisher:
British Academy
DOI:10.5871/bacad/9780197266915.003.0009

Decolonisation in South and Southeast Asia after 1945 was a period of intense negotiations over the role of religion in postcolonial society. For many witnesses in the religious field, religion had to be defended against primarily three threats: the changing power structures of imperial decline; communism; and secular nationalism. In this chapter I examine in how far the (Christian) concept of apologetics is suitable for world-historical research. My argument is that apologetics can indeed broaden our conceptual and empirical understanding of the twentieth century and deepen our understanding of religion and decolonisation. To do so, I propose to distinguish between three different forms of apologetics in word and deed: transnational forms of apologetics (illustrated by the theologies and institutional practices of the Church Missionary Society), national-majoritarian apologetics (discussed with the example of the Hindu-nationalist RSS in post-Partition India), and national-adaptive apologetics (as practices by Muhammadiyah in early-postcolonial Indonesia).

Keywords:   Apologetics, South Asia, Southeast Asia, Decolonisation, Communism, Nationalism, Secularism, Church Missionary Society, Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh, Muhammadiyah

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